Updated: Apr 20
In a world that is volatile, uncertain & complex, growing your business means constant evolution and change. The Harvard Business Review, in their article “What VUCA Really Means for You” charts strategic responses to each of these challenges.
What is common to all of them is the imperative to be agile and change ready. Here are 5 tips for a structured and mindful Change Management approach to help your people and business to successfully respond and evolve.
Five Steps to drive collaborative change in your organisation.
Put your people first
The more you involve your people, the more successful your change initiative will be. When there is understanding, co-creation and a collaborative approach, your people will become the driving force behind your organisational change. Mobilising your people and inspiring them to participate in the process of change will ensure a smooth transition from the present to a brighter future state.
Rebecca Newton, writing for the London School of economics has summarised this in her article Five ways to drive collaborative change in your organisation. Her tips include first investigating what other changes are in progress in the organisation, making sure that you drive collaboration in practice and not only as a theoretical construct. Build trust by reducing uncertainty and keeping people informed. Establish relationships and linkages between internal and external consultants to make sure that your approach is coherent and coordinated.
Have a plan in place
Change Management is a structured process to plan, implement and monitor changes in an organisation. Investing in the tools, expertise and people needed to manage your organisational change will pay off with faster adoption of your changes and help to minimise drops in productivity and morale.
Your plan will include an analysis of the affected stakeholders, a plan to communicate and prepare your people for the change and support during the implementation of the change. Monitoring the success and uptake of the change, as well as evaluation once the change is complete will ensure that any further communication, training, or corrective action needed will be implemented.
The Prosci 3-phase change management process is a widely used approach providing tools for preparing and planning for change, managing the change and ensuring that outcomes are sustained.
Communicate early and often
This is the best way to prepare your people for organisational change. Clear communication of the purpose and nature of the change ensures that your employees understand why the change is happening and what it means for them. Removing uncertainty and providing support and training goes a long way to overcoming resistance to change.
Change communications should be planned and targeted to stakeholder groups, the Grossman Group have published a handy 5 Step Change Management Communication plan, with templates for you to plan and track your change communications.
Ask for input
Make sure there are channels and opportunities available for employees and other key stakeholders to provide feedback and input into the change. Co-creating and collaborating on the final solution builds commitment to the change and a solution that is often richer. When employees are on board, the change can be implemented with less downtime and resistance.
Remember that there is a big difference between asking for input and asking for feedback. When we ask for feedback, we are asking people to evaluate something that we have already done. When we ask for input, we will get ideas, insights, and information that we can use alongside our own. This leads to co-creation and a collaborative approach. Tia Loehnert writes about this subtle distinction on medium.com.
Expect different reactions
Everyone is different, and the way and speed different people react to change varies considerably. The best way to deal with this is to understand the mental and emotional processes we go through as a reaction to change. Learn how to recognise these phases in your stakeholders and have a strategy to deal with these on an individual and group level.
Ken Blanchard has identified 7 common reactions to change, including discomfort, focusing on what they will lose, feeling isolated, feeling change fatigued, and longing for the old way of doing things. Recognising these reactions can explain behaviour relating to the change, provide opportunities to provide support, and explain the need for the change and the benefits of moving forward.
DLK Group provides professional Change Management Services to our clients.
Reach out to us at DLK Group about your Organisational change, and we will assist with an appropriate, customised approach, to successfully manage your change and take your organisation to the next level.
Written by Belinda Kovachi